Popular architecture in Spain;

February 9th, 2010

Snow wells of the Sierra Espuña

During the Little Ice Age in Spain temperatures were somewhat lower than today. This is shown by the presence of an extensive network of ice stores known varyingly as neveras, pozos de nieve, ventisqueros and glaceres, which were built and maintained between the 16th and 19th centuries along the Eastern Mediterranean, some in areas where it no longer snows even one day. The storage and distribution of ice was a lively business involving whole sections of the rural population. A good example are those of the Sierra de Espuña which is home to a number of ice wells, including those in the photo shown on the map. Most of Murcian wells were built in the 17th and 18th centuries, and continued to function until the 1930s when industrial ice production made them utterly inviable. Warming and much less snow in the last 50 years would make ice production here very difficult today.

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Lubián wolf trap

The wolf trap just outside Lubián is a remarkable piece of popular architecture designed to capture wolves. It was in operation until the mid-1960s. It is doubtful whether it was ever an efficient way of capturing them, and it must have involved a huge effort on the part of the local population to build and maintain it. Whataver the case, whenever a wolf was found to be killing local sheep, a goat or sheep would be tethered inside the trap. When, an unfortunate wolf jumped in. the high walls prevented it from jumping out and it would be trapped. The church bells in Lubián would rang. The animal would be caught, caged and paraded around the local villages, who would give presents to the Lubians in thanks, as they tormented the condemned animal.

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